BALTIMORE — Even with New Life Evangelical Baptist Church as a staple in this East Baltimore community, residents still don’t feel safe.
A 29-year-old man was shot and killed Wednesday outside of a BP Gas Station at the corner of Bel Air Road and E. North Avenue.
It’s still unclear what led to the shooting but people in the area said that when they heard the shooting, they ran for cover.
“It’s a whole issue of people wanting to feel safe whether it’s dark or it’s daytime,” said Pastor Milton Williams, pastor of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church. “And it’s difficult to feel safe with the level of violence that continues to occur right here in East Baltimore as well as all of Baltimore.”
Pastor Williams has been running his church and community groups for the past four decades.
He said when the shooting happened across the street from his church, he was not surprised but disturbed yet again by the violence.
“I’m so close to the action that when it happens it threatens everything here as well, even though it’s across the street, it might as well be at my front door,” Pastor Williams said.
A shooting outside an East Baltimore gas station last night left a 29-year-old man dead.— Brittney Verner (@BrittneyVerner) June 23, 2022
Next at 5 & 6 on @WMAR2News learn what people in the community said it’s going to take to stop this culture of violence. pic.twitter.com/9vHzYOu8HH
Police said on Wednesday evening, just before 7:30 p.m., officers responded to a BP Gas Station and found that a man had been shot.
Some people in the area witnessed the aftermath after hearing the shots that claimed his life.
“I was in the house smoking and ran out of cigarettes,” said a person who didn’t want to be identified. “I was getting ready to go get a pack of cigarettes and I seen everything taped up.”
Pastor Williams said although he didn’t know the man who died, he still empathizes with the situation.
“I only knew of him, but regardless to whether I knew him or not, he’s somebody’s son, he’s somebody’s father and we don’t deserve to be shot down in the street like we’re animals,” Pastor Williams said.
In addition to a heavier police presence in this East Baltimore neighborhood, Pastor Williams thinks it’s going to take a higher power to help combat the culture of violence plaguing Baltimore City.
“His life was almost seem to be meaningless to the person that shot him,” Pastor Williams said. “There’s a tremendous amount of fear that’s instilled in others when they see someone shut down they don’t want to be a target for the bad guys doing these sorts of things -- again it goes back to we need gods help at this point.”
Many people who witnessed the shooting or the aftermath were too afraid to go on camera and talk about it publicly for fear of retaliation.
Detectives however are still combing through and investigating what led to that man being gunned down.
“We need the help of Almighty God," Pastor Williams said. "I realize it’s not something you can put on a blackboard, it’s not something you can run through a computer system, but we need the help of someone greater than who we are. Rather than more programs, more policy changes, we need God to help us."